As it’s Easter we’ve egged on our aquarists here at Bristol Aquarium to come up with their Top Five Favourite Eggs. What would make your top 5?
5. Frogspawn A firm favourite among kids everywhere! Many frogs return to the same pond they were tadpoles in to spawn. Females deposit their eggs in a jelly-like mass which is then externally fertilised by the male. The eggs are often black as it retains more heat and keeps the spawn at a stable temperature.
4. Fifteen-Spined Sticklebacks Sticklebacks are native to the UK and here at Bristol Aquarium we are starting to see their amazing mating rituals in our own display. The males build a nest by digging a small pit and then using special thread-like mucus around plants causing them to come together to create a nest. They then perform a zig-zag like mating dance around this nest to attract a female. Once inside the nest the female lays up to 300 peppercorn-sized eggs which the male externally fertilises. When the eggs hatch the babies stay in and around the nest until they can find food for themselves. Be sure to take a closer look at the stickleback display here on your next visit!
3. Clownfish (see photo to left) Did you know all Clownfish start off as males and the most dominant one becomes the female? Clownfish eggs have amazing looking cases! They are transparent for a while with two protruding, silver eyes on each egg. The male parent guards the eggs until they hatch about six to 10 days later, typically two hours after dusk. Clownfish and the anemones they live on have a symbiotic relationship which is mutually beneficial. The clownfish and eggs are protected by the anemone’s stinging cells and the fish provide a food source to the anemone via their waste and by attracting other fish for the anemones to eat.
2. Shark and ray eggs We love shark and ray cases because they are such a cool design; The cases are made of super-strong collagen and have hooks on each corner called tendrils which help attach them to seaweed and rocks. The cases are usually a brown colour, which is great for camouflage. Inside the case there is a yolk, similar to a chicken egg, which is the baby sharks’ or rays’ food store. Sharks can remain inside the eggcase for up to 11 months. Here at Bristol Aquarium we have lots of ray and shark babies that visitors can see in every stage of development; from eggs to adults.
1. Coral Spawning This is simply an amazing sight! Whilst you can’t see it here in Bristol it is our favourite egg! On one night in the year at the exact same time, a coral reef will spawn millions of eggs simultaneously. Once fertilised they turn in to microscopic planula larvae, eventually settling on the sea bed to form a new coral region. It’s an eggs-traordinary not to be missed event!